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 Post subject: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:49 pm 
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Hi all.

Andrew here, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK.

Having found out at UK Antiques Roadshow that the battered old watch we had in the back of our wardrobe was in fact a 1931 Rolex Silver Prince (yep, not joking!), I decided to find myself a daily wearer that's a bit cheaper!

Loving the style of the Rolex, I found myself drawn to the 1920/30s Illinois watches, as they look fabulous, and there are many to choose from, as I'm sure you all know :)

Anyway, these are our watches.

Rolex...

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and my Illinois...

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The Illinois was purchased last week on eBay, for the (I hope) bargain price of £8.50!

It needs a bit of work, and that's where I'm hoping you guys (and gals) may be able to help.

I need to identify which new crystal I need, which second hand, and also which winding stem and Crown I need. Can anyone help please?

Photo of movement...

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I think (please correct me if wrong) that it's an Illinois Kingston, not Ensign, as the seconds are at 6 not 9, and that the movement is a 607 17j movement, size 6/0 but that's as far as I can get. Anyone know what crystal code I should be looking for, and what the various numbers against winding stems mean?

Really enjoying researching and finding out about these lovely watches in my new hobby.

Cheers,

Andrew


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:42 pm 
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Welcome to the forum, Andrew. We have the most knowledgeable Illinois collectors in the USA here who will surely advise you.

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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:29 pm 
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Yes, welcome to the forum! (Be warned: Ilinois collecting is addictive!)

I'd call your watch an Ensign, which was what Illinois named the model when it came out, and how the company continued to list it in its catalogs. The Ensign could have a 15, 17, 19, or 21 jewel movement and subsidiary seconds at either 6 or 9. Kingston was the name that one jobber's catalog in 1933 gave the watch; the Kingston had either a 17 jewel or 21 jewel movement and had subs at 6.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:44 pm 
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Like Magpie, I'd call this an Ensign. Illinois made this design in two sizes, 3/0, in which case it's called the Mate, and 6/0, which is almost always called the Ensign.

Getting one for £8.50 is really lucky; they tend to go for about ten times that amount.

The 607 is the model of the movement: 6/0 size, 17 jewels. The other number is the serial number of the movement, and it suggests this one was made about 1932.

As for the crystal and stem, your best chances are on eBay.

I've seen Ensign crystals there; you have to be careful not to get the larger Mate. Most sellers won't know what the crystal is for, so you'll have to look at the shape. Otherwise, you'll have to get a watchmaker to cut down a crystal to fit.

For stems, I look of scrap movements to rob of their stems. The crown has to be one that has a recess in the back to cover the tube on the side of the case.

And welcome to the forum. I'm always glad to hear from someone on the Great Western Railway!


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:32 am 
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Location: NJ
Congrats on a wonderful Ensign!

Like the other members have said, Illinois watches are VERY addicting.

You got a FANTASTIC price on that one.

There is a great photo gallery here on the forum.
Click here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2583

Check out the Ensigns and many other Illinois.

Welcome to the world of Illinois.

G

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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:03 pm 
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Thanks all. Yes I thought it was an Ensign too, until read on here about Kingston. Thanks for additional information, really interesting.

As far as watch stems go, I've seen a seller on eBay offering new replacement stems, and so am assuming I want the 6/0s ones???

They then mention either f3.30mm or f3.40mm. Not Having an old one to compare against, I'm assuming f3 is like a width, 30 or 40mm being thread length? Does that sound right? If so, I'll go ahead and buy the 6/0s F.3.40mm one and trim it down to length

Didn't really want to go down the buying donor movement route, as it looks like one will end up costing 5 times the cost of my watch! But may just hold fire and see what comes up over the next couple of weeks.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:03 am 
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Posts: 145
Wonderful watch!!

The Ensign crystal numbers are :

BB W2387/223
KK H-300
Perfit H-239/1

These are all " glass" crystal manufacturer numbers. I assumed that would be what you are looking for.
I also have one as well , if you can't find one .
I will look for a stem for you as well .


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:24 pm 
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Posts: 100
Thanks for the reply(veritas123). To be honest, I'm not hugely bothered whether it is glass or plastic, I just don't want cracked yellow!!! :). I would really like to just be able to start wearing this gorgeous watch. I Google the three codes you gave but got nowhere. Do you know who I could quote these codes to?

I'm starting to get the feeling that mainstream Google doesn't like really specific searches!

Still can't believe how dainty these mens watches really were 80 years ago!

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:13 am 
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Posts: 145
I think your Goggle search is working just fine. That's why I told you I have one.
I didn't think they would be easy to find.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:12 pm 
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Nice Ensign you have there and welcome to the forum! It would be wise to look for a glass replacement versus plastic. Plastic crystals overtime it can cause damage to the dial. You will want to acquire a good condition 607 grade parts movement to use for parts replacement on your watch. Genuine Illinois stems are difficult to find as will be the crown. Other's here might be able to help you on your search. You will have to make sure the stem matches the key hole where it is inserted into the mechanism. I would venture to say your detent screw that holds in the stem could be missing or still present. If the winding and setting needs work on your watch a parts movement would be of the most importance with the stem and crown your first priority. I would also recommend a full cleaning and servicing on the movement by a professional. Looks to be a base metal case. Your Rolex looks to be a doctors model and is most impressive!!!

Jon

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"A Minute of Care is Worth an Hour of Repair" circa 1930.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:36 pm 
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Posts: 100
Thanks for the replies.

I've had the back off, and can't see any missing screws. I'm assuming the screw you mentioned is the one to the left of the serial number. I think this is what would need to be partially undone to fit the stem, am I right? If so, it's definitely there.

I'm certainly going to keep eyes out for spare 607 movement, but a bit pricey aren't they!!!

Anyway, had a close look on inside of back case (last digits match the front) and it says...

Illinois watch
Special model b
Fahys
14K
Gold filled

So I guess there be gold in them there case?

I'm getting more and more amazed at the miniscule detail in these little beauties. So rare to find such fine craftsmanship and beauty in objects


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:36 pm 
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You are correct on the detent screw. Glad it is still present. Thank you for clarifying on the case. Your case is a 14K gold filled case, meaning each piece starts out as a base metal. Gold is applied to each side of the metals, over the base metal. Depending on how many years the case is warranted for equates to how many layers of gold were applied to the case. If it was warranted for 25 years then the case was guaranteed to not have any ware through for 25 years. Warranted 25 years is the max amount of gold before you get into solid gold cases from what I have seen and read.

The Ensign is a very nice watch, it's big brother would be the Mate. I have been on the hunt for a good condition smooth bezel Mate for sometime now with no success. I used to have an Ensign myself, very striking piece indeed!

Good luck on your hunt for a spare movement!

Jon

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"A Minute of Care is Worth an Hour of Repair" circa 1930.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:40 pm 
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Posts: 100
Thanks for the info Jon. Appreciated. Out of interest, How would one find out how many years a watch was warranted/layers of gold used?

There's a nice looking Mate on eBay at the moment, maybe worth a look?


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:28 pm 
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OK, it's official...getting a bit addicted. Apologies to all the Illinois die-hards, but have just bought a couple of nice Hamiltons as well. Liked the look of them, and the prices seemed good (though not on same level as my Ensign I hasten to add)...

Firstly, what I believe to be a Hamilton Boyd, missing it's crystal...

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And secondly a Hamilton Martin, needing a new crystal...

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Bought together for the total sum of £115.

Will be a while before the purse strings are loosened to get any more I feel!

Andrew.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:51 pm 
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Posts: 145
Very Nice. See how easy you fall prey to the disease?

Don't worry, we all have it. I can stop any time.

I'm pretty sure I have the crystal for the Boyd and positively on the Martin both in glass.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:57 pm 
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I was wrong on the detent screw. You will not be able to see if the screw is present with the movement inside of the case. The movement has to be removed from the case to see this screw. Please don't attempt unless you have the correct tools and skill.

The vintage watch hobby is a fun one, welcome! You made the right choice going with Hamilton's. Illinois and Hamilton were two of the top high grade watch companies based in the US. Elgin and Waltham are ok. They made several excellent models but the majority of movements they used had very low jewel counts. Low jewel count does not necessarily mean bad quality, but without jeweling, pivots will wear to the point of needing replacement. Jewels are very tough and rarely wear out, saving the pivots and creating less wear overall to the watch movement. I am not aware that Hamilton or Illinois went below 15J. Please somebody correct me if I am wrong. Hamilton is an excellent brand and quality build. Your two watches look between the 1940's to 1950's time period. Do you have a watch repairman/restorer working to get these nice pieces back in running order? International dial in the USA does an exquisite job re-finishing dials.

Jon

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"A Minute of Care is Worth an Hour of Repair" circa 1930.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:27 am 
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Update...Hamiltons... Arrived quickly in post today. Haven't had a chance to open Boyd yet(dragged out for last minute Xmas shopping!!! Grrr), but Hamilton Martin is lovely. Case appears unmarked, apart from a TINY bit of wear on one lug, which is only visible in really bright light.

Running really well, keeping good time, correct hands, second hand correct etc, yes dial needs a clean, but I think I am just going to carefully clean it up and keep it original rather than go full out on the thing.

And to answer question, no I don't have good watch repairer to service them yet, but am making enquiries to find a good one.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:22 pm 
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Only use true Burgeon Rodico to clean that dial. Make sure you roll it as applied to the dial. Rodico is an excellent professional watch tool that can be bought for around 6 dollars on Ebay or any online watch store. Rodico ensures you do not do damage to the dial when cleaning. Be sure you rub across the numbers only, if you blot over them there is a chance you could lift the gold numbers off the dial. They are set in via little feet and attach to the dial this way. If you are needing watch repair, I could offer cleaning and servicing for you. Don't know if you would be interested as I am in the USA. I too avoid dial refinishing if possible at all costs as it can diminish the value of the vintage watch in question.

Jon

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"A Minute of Care is Worth an Hour of Repair" circa 1930.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:21 pm 
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Thanks for hint on burgeon rodico Jon. Pack ordered, plus I have acquired a couple of junker watches to practice cleaning first. Not going to attempt any internal repair work - I'm an engineer, but of the boiler/heating kind, so not used to quite so delicate work. Will post pictures up when cleaned first dial.

Hamilton Martin running really well, but crystal loose so can't wear it until new crystal ordered. Boyd running for a long time, but hands only moving round slowly. Some resto work needed here then.

Thanks for the offer of cleaning etc Jon, but costs would probably be too much, including postage etc to the US. I think I'd better find a UK watch expert to clean/service, as if they do a good job, would want them to restore the Rolex, and would want fully insured postage.


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 Post subject: Re: New member - help will be needed!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:32 pm 
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Yes, repairs state-side would not be cost effective. I failed to see you are in the UK. That is great you are interested in learning how to clean these vintage watches. Make sure you read up carefully before attempting any cleaning. Very easy to disrupt or damage a part if care is not taken to the upmost degree. If you do attempt to clean the movement it would be wise to invest in a pair of high grade screwdrivers for dial screw disassembly, balance cock disassembly, and high grade hands puller. The rest of the watch can be assembled when cleaning as long as all checks out ok first. Burgeon screwdrivers are recommended by many. Make sure you have a cleaning machine that is meant for watch cleaning. Even though your vintage Hamilton's are running, I would advise not running them further as an un-cleaned movement can induce wear to the watch parts, especially those which move at a fast rate, escape wheel, balance pivots, pallet. You really want to clean and then oil the movement in question before running fully. Be sure to oil properly as excess or too little oil can damage further. There is a ton to learn just for cleaning. It is a fun hobby though and can be very rewarding seeing that old piece running like new again!

Jon

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"A Minute of Care is Worth an Hour of Repair" circa 1930.


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